Sunday, November 07, 2004

Deep Trouble in the Ivory Coast

Unfortunately, I haven't seen this discussed at any length within the blogosphere, but the cease fire in the Ivory Coast has been broken and fighting has begun anew. What makes this different is that the Ivorian Government has debilrately struck against French forces in the capital of Abidjan. This in addtion to the Ivory Coast's claim to recovering the rebel-held north. This all started yesterday morning, when suddenly the government's warplanes bombed a French position which killed 9 French soliders and an American consultant. The French responded by destroying the entire Ivory Coast air force, two Russian-made Sukhoi jet fighters and at least three helicopter gunships. This sudden and devastating esclation in violence lead the Security Council to call for an end to the fighting, which was echoed by the US Ambassador John Danforth as well. The French also seized both of the main airports in the capital.

Then today, angry government mobs in Abidjan, armed with machetes and machine guns, went house to house to search out and kill foreigners (14,000 French citizens live in the Ivory Coast) in retaliation for the French destruction of their airforce. This act was followed by Paris deploying about 600 troops, armored vehicles, helicopter gunships, as well as ammunition, into the capital, by landing them at the French controlled airport. Now comes word that Paris plans to roll out overwhelming miltary force against the government forces.

There is a 10,000-man peacekeeping force in the Ivory Coast, 4,000 French troops and 6,000 under UN control.

Yahoo and The Washington Post have more.